Susan's Reviews > The Star Garden

The Star Garden by Nancy E. Turner
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The Star Garden, 3rd of the Sarah Agnes Prine series, is set in the Arizona Territory in December 1906. Sarah's diary entries chronicle a rough and tragic way of life that is hard to comprehend in the modern day. Family ties are solid and enduring, fast friendships survive all challenges, love triumphs (mostly). It does strain credulity that all the strife could occur to one person...

When the story begins, Sarah has survived evil attacks by neighbor Rudolfo Maldonado that have brought her ranch near ruin, and is falling in love with neighbor Udell Hanna but does not want to surrender her independence. Sarah witnesses a stagecoach accident (cause is never explained) and rescues the survivors, although she doesn't have enough food to feed her family, much less strangers. Her son and his children are living with her following the ruin of his home in the San Francisco quake and the death of his wife. As family members and friends begin or end love affairs throughout the story, mysterious shootings occur with apparent Mexican banditos (or possibly Maldonado's staff) riding through the vast ranch properties. The family travels from the ranch to Tucson, where illness sweeps through the family (twice). Maldonado begins gun-running to Mexico and steals land to build a railroad across Sarah's ranch. Udell builds a stone "love bird bower". Sarah attains her lifelong dream of attending college. Maldonado resumes vicious attacks on Sarah's loved ones, who must fight gun battles to survive.
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